“Last Friends” by Jane Gardam


Last Friends is the third book in Jane Gardam’s Old Filth trilogy, after that book and The Man in the Wooden Hat, both of which I loved. There’s also a related book of stories, The People on Privilege Hill. I have so loved those previous books and the characters in them that I had high expectations for this book. A small English country town has histories and people who are far more complicated than any of them suspect of one another.

I was happy to spend time with the characters again, but the plot seemed meandering instead of layered and complex as in the previous books. I got stuck several times on awkward sentences or plot inconsistencies. And yet, these were minor annoyances, because the world and the people in it that Gardam has created are so rich and real that I still counted myself as privileged to have spent time with them, and was sad to see them go for what is probably their final bow.

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